Rattled by the decision of Lok Janshakti Party to go solo in the Bihar election and the subsequent political developments in the state, the BJP on Wednesday issued a strong warning to Chirag Paswan and the rebel BJP leaders who are queueing up to jump the ship for an LJP ticket for Bihar election.
Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis have in clear terms warned the rebel leaders to return to the BJP’s fold or face expulsion. Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal, in a veiled warning to Chirag Paswan, said FIR will be registered against non-NDA candidates if they use pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their poll campaign.
Sources said by giving top priority to BJP leaders denied tickets by the saffron party, Chirag Paswan has created a headache more for the BJP than for Nitish Kumar. The rebels include Rajendra Singh, the former BJP in-charge of Jharkhand, the contestant from Dinara. It also includes former MLA Usha Vidyarthi who will be contesting from Paliganj and sitting MLA Ravindra Yadav who will be contesting from Jhaja.
BJP criticises LJP
During a press conference on Tuesday, the BJP attempted to distance itself from the Lok Janshakti Party, which has been making strong statements against Nitish Kumar and JD(U).
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi claimed that the LJP, which continues to be an NDA partner at the Centre, has fallen out in Bihar as Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan is not well and is available to make key decisions.
Sushil Kumar Modi also raised objection to the LJP using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face in its Bihar poll campaign posters.
“If required, we will write to the Election Commission that only four parties associated with the NDA can use the Prime Minister’s picture, no one else will have the right to use the Prime Minister’s picture,” Sushil Kumar Modi had said.
Why LJP decided to go solo?
The statement issued by LJP provided that the decision to go solo in the Bihar election was taken due to the party’s ideological differences with JD(U). LJP had said that there is no rift with the BJP and the party will continue to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his vision for the development of the country, as well as Bihar.
The LJP’s decision comes at the end of months-long sparring with the JD(U) over a number of issues, including Bihar’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and Nitish Kumar’s joining forces with former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. Manjhi, a Dalit leader like the Paswans, has an overlapping support base. Within the party, Chirag Paswan has not been shy about expressing his ambitions for the top job.
The LJP had also demanded an early decision on seat division. But there has been no response from the BJP. Despite the LJP repeatedly making it clear that it would contest against JD(U) unless given a fair share of seats, the BJP has so far been silent on the issue.
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